Sunday, November 25, 2007


Years ago I promised Curtis that I wouldn't see Lawrence of Arabia until I had the opportunity to watch it on the big screen. That chance came yesterday afternoon, when Norman and I caught Lawrence in all its 70mm glory at the Egyptian in Hollywood. It's a grand setting for such an epic, with its vast expanses of scenery and its booming, heroic score.

And you know what? It was pretty good. But that's all: I thought it was all right. T.E. Lawrence seems like an interesting fella and I'd like to learn a little more about him. But the movie itself? Yeah, I liked it. But I don't see adding it to my list of Top Ten films. Sorry, Curtis.

Seeing it turned out to be a handy thing, actually, because it was the only top ten film on the AFI's list of "100 Movies... 100 Years" that I hadn't seen. It felt good to check that baby off. I have now seen 73 movies on the AFI's list, which seems like a collection of titles designed to appeal to the masses rather than a genuine assessment of great films throughout history. I mean, I like The Fellowship of the Ring, but is it really better than, say, The African Queen? Or The Apartment? Should The Sixth Sense be on that list at all? And why oh why is Schindler's List in the top ten? That is the most egregiously overrated movie of all time -- a fascinating, moving true story, to be sure, but a lightweight piece of filmmaking that goes for sentimentality and easy explanations every chance it gets.

Since it's getting towards the end of the year and I need to start thinking about resolutions, maybe I'll resolve in 2008 to see the 27 movies on the AFI list that I haven't yet watched. It's an arbitrary list, pretty much, but watching all those movies should at least ensure that I'll be well-viewed (is that the filmic equivalent of "well-read"?) by the end of next year.

What are the great films you have not yet seen?


Feral Mom said...

Of the top ten, I've yet to see "Raging Bull" "Lawrence" or "Schindler's List." Perhaps, given your reviews, I should start with Raging Bull?

shandon said...

Yes, watch it and get it out of the way! Raging Bull is another movie I think is vastly overrated, though with that one I can at least understand why people are fans. I should probably watch it again myself and see if it has improved with age (mine, not its).

Feral Mom said...

I should be able to move on, but I keep coming back to stare at Lawrence of Arabia's pancake and mascara job. I think this may be why I've been putting off seeing Lawrence of Arabia.